Fair aims to help residents become safer — in many ways | August 23, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 23, 2013

Fair aims to help residents become safer — in many ways

Midtown Emergency Preparedness Home Safety Faire to feature 22 booths, SWAT-team vehicle and demonstrations

by Sue Dremann

When it comes to safety, the organizers of a Sept. 8 faire in Palo Alto think there's no such thing as being too prepared.

While attention typically focuses on preparing for the Big One, the Midtown Emergency Preparedness Home Safety Faire will be about more than earthquakes, according to organizers Annette Glanckopf, Cynthia Tham and Kristen Van Fleet.

Fair-goers will be able to learn about everything from bicycle safety to home and animal safety, self-defense, neighborhood-block-preparedness and emergency training.

Twenty-two booths at El Carmelo Elementary School will offer everything from emergency-food tastings and solar-cooking demonstrations to emergency supplies. The Palo Alto Police Department will bring its SWAT vehicle. The afternoon event will include activities for children, including making emergency "comfort kits," coloring books and a possible scavenger hunt.

"We're going to get our city to be the most prepared city on the Peninsula," Glanckopf said.

There will be emergency-power demonstrations by Palo Alto Utilities and booths staffed by the American Red Cross Silicon Valley, Racing Hearts Automated External Defibrillators, Palo Alto Fire Department, Gunn High School's Movers and Shakers, and an emergency-communication group. United Studios of Self Defense will train people in basic self-defense.

Many people don't have basic knowledge about what to do in an emergency — and what not to do, Van Fleet said.

"People don't know that to strike a match if there is an open gas line can be really bad," she said.

Van Fleet, who has organized a raffle of a Trek bike for the fair, said she wants to spread information to bicyclists and drivers about safety. While Palo Alto schools have bike-safety programs, that message often is not getting out to their parents, she said.

"I got really tired of seeing adults not use hand signals," she said.

And many drivers don't understand the rules of the road regarding two-wheeled travelers.

The fair is also a way to reach out to neighbors and to build trust, Van Fleet said. Many of her neighbors are new and from other countries. They don't know how things work in the event of an emergency, and they don't have a place for their kids to go if they become separated.

Although Van Fleet has reached out through her role as a block-preparedness coordinator, the response has been mixed. The fair is one way to "keep having the conversation — so they can trust that there are people in the neighborhood they can go to," she said.

Glanckopf, who is co-chair of Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) emergency preparedness committee and heads Midtown's emergency-preparedness program, has long stressed that people and neighborhoods that are best prepared will have the greatest chances of surviving when emergency personnel are tied up handling larger problems such as a major fire, explosion or collapsed building.

The city's Office of Emergency Services has actively promoted programs that integrate the city's response and communications systems with neighborhood responders such as the Block Preparedness Coordinator Program and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) teams, according to Kenneth Dueker, city director of emergency services. Both will be represented at the fair, Glanckopf said.

The fair is being funded in part by a City of Palo Alto "Know Your Neighbors" grant. Local businesses have also donated funds and prizes.

The Midtown fair precedes Quakeville, the city's community annual disaster drill, which will take place Sept. 21.

What: Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Faire

Where: El Carmelo Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 3024 Bryant St., Palo Alto

When: Sunday, Sept. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free, but donations to offset costs are accepted

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.


Like this comment
Posted by Occasional Cyclist
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2013 at 8:59 am

And many drivers don't understand the rules of the road regarding two-wheeled travelers.

Please explain this comment.

Two wheeled travelers are vehicles, the same as the four wheeled kind.
They have the same rules of the road. They have to stop at stop signs and red lights, signal when making turns, overtaking, or changing lanes, give way to pedestrians, etc. etc. They need lights at night and need to travel on the right.


Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

Yes, bicyclists have the same rights as car drivers. The most important safety lesson that we taught our kids is don't let drivers force you into the gutter. If there is no marked bike lane, ride approximately 4 feet to the left of any parked cars, or from the curb if parallel parking is banned. If you ride too far to the right, car drivers have a hard time seeing you when they pull out of driveways and they will constantly try to cut you off at intersections. Also, the gutter is full of debris like broken auto glass and potholes in the gutter are rarely fixed promptly.

Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Many drivers also don't know how to turn right legally and safely in the presence of bicyclists or a bike lane. They are required to merge to the right curb, yielding to any bicyclists who may be there or approaching, then turn right from the curb. Many race to cut off bicyclists or stop to their left and then turn right from the middle of the road.

I also see a lot of cars parked on the wrong side of the street in Palo Alto. This is illegal and presents a hazard to bicyclists.

Like this comment
Posted by confused
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm

"Many people don't have basic knowledge about what to do in an emergency — and what not to do, Van Fleet said."

Palo Alto does zero analysis when it comes to development and emergency safety, especially egress networks and evacuation. Look at what they did at Maybell. I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around what happened there - all councilmembers being from the school of if-there's-an-emergency-CYAG —and then seeing this fair.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Note to cyclists:

The laws of physics trump the laws of man. Complain all you want, but when you go up against a 3000 pound vehicle, you will lose.

If you really want safe cycling, lobby and pay for dedicated bicycle infrastructure.

Like this comment
Posted by Chris Gaither
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

To Cyclists of all ages - please stop riding on the sidewalks (unsafe to pedestrians), and stop speeding down the street when you ride. Cars cannot see you well at that speed, in time enough to stop. Safety needs to be follwed by all those who use the roads.

Like this comment
Posted by It's all relative
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2013 at 7:30 am

A bicycle is a vehicle in relation to a pedestrian. it is a pedestrian in relation to a vehicle. Explained to me by a PAPD officer!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.